No Right Answer: Best Video Game Format - Physical vs. Digital

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As nice as having a physical copy may appear to be, as someone mentioned earlier, it's partly psychological. You don't own the game, merely the physical media.

Servers dying: Not an issue, unless it's an online game. If you already have the game downloaded and installed, the server dying wont make a damn bit of difference unless it's Ubisofts old DRM bullshit. Then there's always making backups.

Sharing games: Though this is a viable argument now, it's not likely to stay that way. Given publishers general attitudes toward second hand games and Microsofts idiotic attempt to force single ownership of games with the Xbox one, it's only a matter of time that this becomes a non argument.

When it comes to games I really love, I will always try to get it physical. Like my collectors copies of pretty much every Blizzard game, they're meant for looks. Aside from that, I don't see any real point in owning physical copies of all my games since they'll just take up space.

Every time I think about going digital something comes along to muck it up. A moth or so ago a game was removed from PSN, even from the lists of people that had paid for it, because it was found it had a piracy enabling exploit on the vita. It's since been patched and all is well with the world, but it is a staunch reminder that at some point, we will lose access to something we hold dear when they decide to pull the servers, or the company goes bankrupt, or just doesn't give a shit, while they physical media can't be taken away from me (at least legally).

Other than that, it's the usual stuff. Bandwidth caps aren't going away anytime soon, and anything over a gig or 2 take sme all day to download. Maintaining a collection off the cloud is more convenient, if memory is kept at a decent price (I'm looking at you Sony and your vita memory cards), but that can be countered by transference issues. In the name of piracy protection, transferring data always seems to be slow and more cumbersome than it should be. In those cases, it isn't really digital I mind, but game companies that think anyone touching their systems has ultra high speed, fibre optic wi-fi with no limits. Back to the other side, well, I could get into server outages and how PSN is down for maintenance at least once a month, but I prefer price issues. Some companies discount their prices for digital, some have charged more than physical even at launch. And that's not counting some PSP games they still want $40 for. Businesses are under no obligation to pass on savings (no matter what the Republicans tell you) so I doubt we'll ever see much on that front.

I mean, I love the idea, but it's got too many issues for me.

Cybylt:

Tanis:
It never ceases to amaze me how quickly people are willing to give up their rights in favor of conveyance.

Not everyone wants to lose their games when a server goes down or a contract with some company goes away.

Physical media insures consumer rights.

I'm sorry so many people are blind to this.

But when those servers go down or the contracts end, many many people would feel absolutely no guilt in less scrupulous methods of retrieving the game again if they wanted it back. Assuming the server being down cut them off from what's on their hard drive anyway.

Your argument also comes with the misunderstanding that you have actual ownership just because you have the disk when companies have thrown millions of dollars into legislation to get the law to say otherwise. You think you own it more than if you had a download, but you don't as far as the publisher and the laws backing them are concerned.

And that's fine and dandy for them.

Except, because I own the DISC, I can always replay my games.

I don't have to worry about legal pissing contests.

Tanis:

Cybylt:

Tanis:
It never ceases to amaze me how quickly people are willing to give up their rights in favor of conveyance.

Not everyone wants to lose their games when a server goes down or a contract with some company goes away.

Physical media insures consumer rights.

I'm sorry so many people are blind to this.

But when those servers go down or the contracts end, many many people would feel absolutely no guilt in less scrupulous methods of retrieving the game again if they wanted it back. Assuming the server being down cut them off from what's on their hard drive anyway.

Your argument also comes with the misunderstanding that you have actual ownership just because you have the disk when companies have thrown millions of dollars into legislation to get the law to say otherwise. You think you own it more than if you had a download, but you don't as far as the publisher and the laws backing them are concerned.

And that's fine and dandy for them.

Except, because I own the DISC, I can always replay my games.

I don't have to worry about legal pissing contests.

But you were saying physical media ensures your rights and ownership when it so clearly does not because of those legal pissing contests.

That disc is no more safe than a download from being stripped of its playability through a patch. If that weren't the case, on-disc dlc couldn't exist.

Firefilm:

No, you are right. You are absolutely right. I admit not using a powerful weapon in my corner, and I humbly fall on my sword. (Dan falls on cardboard sword, it bends in half, he hits his head on a coffee table) AAAAAAAAAAAAAREYOUHAPPYNOWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!

Well I thought you were talking about consoles specifically. If you were trying to debate digital vs physical for BOTH PC and console the arguments get all confused, since some aspects apply only to consoles.

Is there even a game out there for PC that you can buy and play without connecting to the internet? Maybe there is, I've been digital-only on PC for a long time, so I wouldn't know. But I would probably need to patch the damn thing anyway to really enjoy it. The only upside as far as PC's are concerned for physical discs are lower install times, and the shiny box and stuff.

I think we've been moving toward digital-only since the day day-one patches became the norm for pc, and we took another massive step that way when it became the norm for consoles too. It sucks, but at least with Steam they gave us a couple cookies to make up for what we were losing(discounts and no more disc-swapping for games we were required to install to our hard drives anyway), console players aren't even getting that nowadays, you pay launch-day price for like a year after launch for digital, even if the store price goes down in the meantime. Retailers are using your need for discs against the game companies, and the game companies are passing the gouging on to you. Thems the breaks. Sure the upside is you can sell your games at the moment, and buy used ones cheaper, but when things do go all-digital(and microsoft at least has made it clear they consider that inevitable), I really can't believe games will get cheaper. Look at gamers in Australia, they get royally screwed for AAA game prices, and game companies make excuses that are proven to be lies, but they keep on doing it.

Anyway, I like having physical copies too, it was the best part of console gaming, but with gaming companies screwing their customers by charging extra for something that costs them less to distribute with not even a shrug to acknowledge it just shows how messed up it is to be a console gamer these days.

So cling to your discs until they pry them from your cold dead hands, after that, we all might have to find another hobby.

Gotta be honest as long as I can play the game I don't really care either way.
In my experience though digital copy's are only as good as the tech support of the company that provides them.

As example I once bought an xbox360 game that came with bonus content but the code for the bonus stuff did not work, game was new still in its plastic wrap.

So I did what anyone would do I sent a complaint to customer support and they ignored it, not even one single reply.
After some searching on forums I found out that it was a pre order bonus and too much time had passed so the code was expired but that doesn't change the fact that I had a game with a box clearing showing it came with bonus content which I could not access.

I can't help but feel like I was lied to, if the box states something is included then it bloody well should be and if it was a physical copy then it would have been included but as it was a digital download the only way I could get that content would have been a hack.

I like digital downloads a lot but crap like this always leaves a sour taste in my mouth. Digital ownership simply does not feel as secure as physical :/

Digital games have 2 HUGE drawbacks for me. Download time and harddrive space.

1 It took over 12 hours for me to download ps3 games. Ps4 games are more than twice as big. I haven't bought any digital ones yet but I seriously doubt they'll take less time to download.

2 Next gen games are already 35+ gigs and they'll only get larger. That will fill a 500 gig harddrive very quick. So soon old games will have to be deleted. If I delete a game I downloaded for 14 hours let alone possible more than a day there is NO way I'll ever play it again. Where as I can always just put my disk in and play.

Also I can loan other people me disc games. Or even sell them. Considering that digital and disc copies are the same price there is no reason for me to go digital.

FPLOON:
As a non-PC gamer...

*le gasp*

Why can't both physical and digital copies coexist? I mean, they're still the same ass price and, if the game came with both options and you loose one of those options somehow, you have the other option as backup... I mean, sure you can still have your "just digital" or "just physical" option, but can't we still have a "just both" option?

...What's that? I'm getting too old for this shit and should just accept the fact that digital will become the one true format of gaming and anything else, in terms of "quality" entertainment??

NEVER!!!!

that's the problem.

On PC, digital is painless and bar none the best experience. Be it steam or GOG.

Its cheap as hell too, since when has anyone bought a game for 2.50 (serious Sam 3, a year ago I think)? That is still sorta new? At a store?

and PC used to have a "both" option until retailers plain stopped ordering the CDs tied to digital services. Now its digital only. Retailers just couldn't compete.

On PC, digital has been a fact of life for almost 10 years.

on console, digital is expensive and full of hassle. On console, digital is still new and unsupported.

I like Digital for my pc and Physical for my console.
No particular or logical reason :P

Maybe is for steam, gog, green man , humble bundle.

Firefilm:

Aptspire:
God damnit Dan, not one mention of Steam or GoG...
I mean, Steam is my go to place for digital. Also, getting a great game half-off is wonderful. (When was the last time a never used before physical been half-off?)

No, you are right. You are absolutely right. I admit not using a powerful weapon in my corner, and I humbly fall on my sword. (Dan falls on cardboard sword, it bends in half, he hits his head on a coffee table) AAAAAAAAAAAAAREYOUHAPPYNOWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!

I'm happy with the mental image, thanks :D
Keep up the good work nontheless!

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